THE JEF­FER­SON FAM­ILY

201 Family - - SERVICE PARENTS -

“WE WERE ALL SAD, BUT TALK­ING TO THE KIDS ABOUT IT WAS THER­A­PEU­TIC FOR ALL OF US.” SAB­RINA JEF­FER­SON FAIR LAWN

Fair Lawn’s Sab­rina Jef­fer­son also knows the strug­gle of be­ing a mil­i­tary wife. When her hus­band, Fredrick, was put on stop-loss in 2006, send­ing him to Iraq, she helped their seven chil­dren through his year­long ab­sence. “It was so hard be­cause you have to be the mother and the fa­ther and cope with ev­ery­one’s emo­tions,” she says. “We were all sad, but talk­ing to the kids about it was ther­a­peu­tic for all of us.”

Sab­rina found ways to help her chil­dren through that time. “We filled a jar with candy and ev­ery day we’d take a piece out,” she says, “and as the candy went away they un­der­stood how much time was left un­til Daddy was com­ing home.” Sab­rina also played record­ings of Fredrick’s voice and left pic­tures of him out for the kids to kiss hello ev­ery morn­ing.

“Also, be­fore he left, Fredrick bought a star, so ev­ery night we’d go out­side, look up at the star and say a prayer,” she says.

Af­ter an emo­tional home­com­ing, it took Sab­rina time to ac­cli­mate back to a two-par­ent home. “I was so used to do­ing ev­ery­thing on my own, so the home­com­ing was tough,” she says. “We all cried and I held him for a long time, but it was tough.”

Fredrick, who re­mains on lo­cal ac­tive duty for the Army, re­cently found out he might re­turn to Iraq this year. “I’m tak­ing that re­ally hard, be­cause I wor­ried so much last time about los­ing him,” Sab­rina says. “So many sol­diers come home with PTSD or with­out a limb or don’t make it back at all. So it’ll be hard to face that again.”

A FAM­ILY’S LOVE Fred­er­ick Jef­fer­son’s tour in Iraq kept him far away from his wife and seven chil­dren in Fair Lawn, but they found ways to keep him close to their hearts de­spite the dis­tance. He met yet again be called to ac­tive ser­vice.

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